Thoughts: Game 29 – Penguins vs Rangers

Pens 3  Rangers 0

Goals
Bennett (2) from Jeffrey, Kennedy
Kennedy (4) (PP) from Letang, Martin
Dupuis (14) from Jeffrey, Cooke

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Stats

  • Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 23 shots for his 23rd career shutout, a franchise record
  • Pascal Dupuis and Kris Letang led the team with 4 shots a piece
  • The Pens combined for 21 missed shots (3 each for Despres, Niskanen, Sutter)
  • Letang blocked 4 shots
  • Sidney Crosby went 7 for 21 (33%) on faceoffs

The Good

Tyler Kennedy Brandon Sutter

Tyler Kennedy celebrates a powerplay goal with Brandon Sutter (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Marc-Andre Fleury: He’s had better games with rebound control, but there is certainly no arguing with 23 saves on 23 shots and his 23rd career shutout (a new franchise record). Fleury benefited greatly from a strong team effort and he has certainly deserved that over the past few weeks. His angles were solid and he was very strong on the posts as the Rangers were kept to the perimeter and behind the net for the most part. Things got scary towards the end with some odd bounces, but Fleury held on for a much-deserved record!

Tyler Kennedy: TK haters beware, his hard work is starting to pay off a little bit. He has maintained his good play in the defensive end recently and finally found a way to make an impact on the scoresheet with 2 points. The first assist was somewhat on accident, as he initially fanned on a pass, lost the puck, but recovered to set the play in motion. The second goal was largely of his own making, mostly because he drew the penalty that led to the powerplay he scored on. This performance is yet another step in the right direction as he starts to put his awful stretch of play behind him.

Dustin Jeffrey: Jeffrey recorded 2 primary assists in setting up Bennett and Dupuis and is showing the ability to adjust his game to any linemates on the top 3 lines at this point. He was strong as usual in the neutral zone and gave the Rangers problems when they tried to run their planned breakouts. When he’s not put in a 4th line forechecking role, Jeffrey is quite capable of playing a steady NHL game.

Entire Team Defense: All 18 skaters did a fantastic job as a team of bottling up the Rangers in the neutral zone and keeping them to the perimeter in the defensive zone. There was a huge effort from the wingers to get back, led by takeaways and pass deflections from Kunitz, Dupuis, and Cooke. The centers also did an exceptional job of covering the crease in front of Fleury. Finally, the defense as a whole protected the slot area very well and everyone pushed players to the outside. Overall, the Pens did a fantastic job of keeping the puck out of high percentage shooting areas.

Noteworthy

Sidney Crosby: It certainly wasn’t a bad game for Crosby, but he wasn’t able to elevate himself like he often does against the Rangers. He had 4 shot attempts (2 missed) and was a poor 7/21 on faceoffs. He also was a little careless with his offensive zone passes sometimes. However, he still created plenty of chances for the first line and played very well in the defensive end. I guess he can’t be perfect EVERY game.

The Bad

None: Even I struggle to nitpick in a 3-0 shutout win.

Misc. Thoughts

Sidney Crosby blocked lane

Sidney Crosby looks to avoid putting the puck into Dan Girardi blocking his lane. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Shooting Lanes: The team combined for an usually high 21 missed shots against the Rangers. In an unexpected twist, this number was actually great to see in comparison to the Rangers 18 blocked shots. The Pens made a significant effort in changing their shooting lanes, avoiding Rangers’ bodies, and ensuring that a bad shot stayed in the zone rather than went the other way for an odd man break. As the Pens demonstrated, avoiding those blocks is a good way of owning the Rangers.

Secondary Scoring: Congrats first line, you can relax for a day and the Pens can still win! With Duper’s goal coming on a hybrid line of Cooke-Jeffrey-Dupuis, the actual first line figured in on zero goals and the Pens continued on perfectly fine. With a shutout, and secondary scoring, what are we supposed to complain about?!?

Get the full Goal Assessment at CrosbyFTW.